Boston police say man shoots at officers, who fire back

It was a half-hour past midnight Friday, and Boston police officers investigating a slew of drug activity were chasing a man down Blue Hill Avenue. The chase ended in Puddingstone Park in Dorchester, and instead of stopping, the man brandished a handgun, according to court documents.

“Boston police! Drop the gun,’’ an officer yelled repeatedly, according to court records.

But police said the man fired at two officers, and one of the officers fired back.


No one was wounded, but the 12:30 a.m. shooting highlights a troubling pattern in recent weeks, in which four men have exchanged gunfire with police officers.

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By Friday afternoon, Anthony Toombs, 21, stood in Dorchester District Court in handcuffs and a white prison jumpsuit, as charges were read against him, including unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawfully carrying a loaded gun, and assault with a dangerous weapon.

“These are the allegations against him, and they are serious,’’ Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Michael Callahan said after outlining the case and recommending to a judge that Toombs be held on $750,000 cash bail.

“He showed a total disregard for authority,’’ Callahan said.

Defense lawyer Jack Garland said that Toombs has a 16-month-old son and worked “seven days a week’’ at Burger King. Toombs had been trying to get his GED.


Toombs has a limited criminal record. He served six months last fall in the House of Correction for possession of a Class B substance and larceny from a person, according to Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

Toombs has also been convicted of stealing a motor vehicle and breaking and entering in North Carolina, according to testimony in court Friday.

Judge Jonathan Tynes imposed the $750,000 bail and ordered that Toombs wear a GPS monitoring device if he posts bail.

The episode early Friday began as members of the Youth Violence Strike Force noticed a hub of drug sales at Pasadena Road and Blue Hill Avenue, authorities said.

The officers saw Toombs approach and stand next to an alleged drug seller, later identified as William Howell, 21, of Mattapan.


Howell and Toombs then walked to a pizza restaurant nearby, and when they exited, officers, including one wearing a vest marked “Boston Police,” asked to speak to them. Howell stopped, but Toombs continued to walk and then run, court documents say.

In Puddingstone Park, Toombs pulled out a handgun from his sweatshirt pocket and fired, authorities said. He allegedly tossed the gun over a fence as he was fleeing, but officers found him and tried to arrest him.

When an officer attempted to place him in custody, Toombs punched him in the face, the records said. He is also charged with assaulting the officer.

Officers recovered a 9mm handgun loaded with eight rounds of ammunition that they allege Toombs used in the shooting.

Police also arrested Howell Friday after searching him and allegedly finding a plastic bag containing two smaller bags of marijuana.

He was arraigned in Dorchester later Friday on a charge of possession of a Class D substance with intent to distribute. He was released after posting a $500 cash bail.

In recent weeks, several suspects have fired on police, startling residents.

On Aug. 7, plainclothes detectives shot and killed Roudy Hendricks, 20, of Brockton after he shot two plainclothes drug unit detectives on Shepton Street near Dorchester Avenue. The officers had minor wounds.

On July 31, Middlesex prisoner Raymond Wallace, 36, of Marblehead was shot and critically wounded after he allegedly grabbed a gun and shot a deputy sheriff in the leg at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Another officer shot Wallace.

On July 16, two uniformed Boston police officers in a drug investigation shot and wounded a suspected drug dealer in an exchange of gunfire in South Boston.

Meghan Irons can be reached at or on Twitter @MeghanIrons.